Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

Nats 40-man Option status for 2016


After Robinson's breakout 2015, does he have to worry about options? Photo via

After Robinson’s breakout 2015, does he have to worry about options? Photo via

One bit of analysis that we end up doing every year on the franchise, when thinking about potential moves and roster construction, is Options analysis.  I’m posting this now b/c a couple of the guys w/o options are tender candidates, so this may play into the team’s decision on whether to keep them for 2016.

On the odd chance that you don’t know what i’m talking about with Options, here’s some quickie links that help explain the rules: Wikipedia’s baseball transactions, but more importantly an old Keith Law article on the website explains the nuances of optional assignments well.  Basically it goes like this: once you’re put onto the 40-man roster, if you’re not also on the 25-man (or “active”) roster then you are playing in the minors somewhere .. and you are called being on “optional assignment” down there.  In order to protect the hoarding of players, teams can only send 40-man players down to the minors three years before being forced to allow other teams to lay claim to them and put them on their own active rosters.  Each year you are sent down to play in the minors is called an “Option” or an “option year.”

I’ve done this analysis before: here was 2015’s analysis  (where 4 of the 6 out of options guys were gone before opening day) and here was 2014’s analysis noting that Corey Brown and especially Ross Detwiler were going to be problematic; Brown was DFA’d and traded shortly there after while Detwiler stuck around for a whole season prior to getting moved to Texas.

Here’s the current Nats 40-man roster with updated Service times for 2015 as well as a review of Option Status for the 2016 year.  There are a couple guys who seem to have some options limitations going into 2016 that we’ll have to keep an eye on.

First up; Vets who can refuse demotion thanks to having 5 or more years of service time.  The Nats have ten (10) such players on the current 40-man roster:

Player Service Time post 2015 First Added to 40-man Notes
Werth, Jayson 12.102 Nov 2002 achieved 10&5 rights in 2015, not that he needed it
Papelbon, Jonathan 10.064 July 2005 never optioned as far as I can tell
Zimmerman, Ryan 10.032 Sep 2005 never used an option; achieved 10&5 rights in 2015
Escobar, Yunel 8.121 June 2007 Doesn’t look like he was ever optioned after 6/2007 callup
Scherzer, Max 7.079 May 2007
Gonzalez, Gio 6.162 Aug 2008
Stammen, Craig 5.160 May 2009 Less than 20 days in minors in 2010, so no option used
Storen, Drew 5.140 May 2010 2013 option cancelled when recalled before 20 days were up.
Strasburg, Stephen 5.118 Aug 2009 Probably eligible for a 4th based on lack of service time.
Ramos, Wilson 5.047 Nov 2008

Four players achieved the all-important 5th service year in 2015: Stammen, Storen, Strasburg and Ramos.  It wasn’t exactly likely that any of these four were in jeopardy of getting optioned (all four still had options available), but now they definitely cannot be sent down (as Storen was briefly in 2013).

Two guys achieved  the “Ten and Five” rights in 2015: Werth and Zimmerman.  10&5 gives automatic trade protection to the player … but both Werth and Zimmerman have full no-trade clauses anyway, so the 10&5 doesn’t mean much.

Next group: Options Available but are MLB entrenched.  Six (6) guys are in this category in my opinion:

Player Service Time post 2015 First Added to 40-man Option Years Used Options left? Notes
Espinosa, Danny 4.113 Sep 2010 2013 2
Harper, Bryce 3.159 Aug 2010 2011, 2012 1 Did 2010 count as an option year?
Rendon, Anthony 2.130 Aug 2011 2012, 2013 1 Probably eligible for a 4th option eventually if needed
Roark, Tanner 2.055 Aug 2013 3 Optioned on 8/25/15 but then called up 9/4 cancelling the option
Barrett, Aaron 1.144 Nov 2013 2014 2
Ross, Joe 0.094 June 2015 2015 2

In my mind, none of these guys are really candidates to get optioned in 2016 despite having options available to them.  Roark was optioned in late 2015 (August 25th) but then got called right back up on Sept 4th, so (if i’m reading the rules correctly) that option was “cancelled” for being too short.

I have an open question about Harper‘s 2010 option status; does it count as an option year if you sign a major league contract and then get assigned to a minor league team in the same year?  Not that it really matters for Harper (it isn’t like the reigning NL MVP is in danger of getting optioned), and it can no longer happen (MLB contracts were banned in the latest CBA), but its an intellectual issue.  If you have an opinion or insight, please feel free to chime in.  I’m guessing the rules at the time stated that you cannot burn an option the same year you signed, so i’ve not included it as an option year for Harper here.

Next group: Options Available and thus jeopardizing 25-man roster status for 2016: Five (5) players in this category:

Player Service Time post 2015 First Added to 40-man Option Years Used Options left? Notes
den Dekker, Matt 1.033 Aug 2013 2014, 2015 1
Taylor, Michael 1.037 Nov 2013 2014 2
Treinen, Blake 1.065 Apr 2014 2014 2
Solis, Sammy 0.097 Nov 2013 2014, 2015 1
Turner, Trea 0.045 Aug 2015 3 still pissed he was called up so early.

If the season started tomorrow, I’d likely project all five of these guys to be on the 25-man roster, three of them in pretty prominent roles.  den Dekker definitely seems like a guy who may get squeezed to the minors, especially if the team acquires a veteran OF this off-season.

If you want to read more of my rants on Turner‘s call-up, you can certainly find them in the comments sections over the past few months.  In fact, here’s my complaint the day they called him up in this space.  45 days of service time blown so he could collect MLB meal money for a month’s worth of pinch hitting and pinch running appearances while the team flushed away its season.  He started the last 6 games of the season, having only gotten two spot starts in the previous 5 weeks, in an idiotic use of his time for a team that didn’t need or use him down the stretch.  By my calculations, in order to “save” another year of his time, he’d have to start in Syracuse and stay down there for *8 weeks*; 6 weeks to make up for the 45 days of service time and then another two weeks to make sure that the team saves the difference between a full service time year (172 days) and the number of actual days in a MLB season (roughly 183 days).  See that happening?  I don’t either.  So its a moot point and we have lost any shot of extending his stay here an extra year.

Next, the large group of guys for whom Options almost guaranteed to be used in 2016.  Thirteen (13)  in total:

Player Service Time post 2015 First Added to 40-man Option Years Used Options left? Notes
Davis, Erik 1.045 Nov 2012 2013, 2015 1 60-day DL 2014; no option burned but earned 1 full year of service time
Hill, Taylor 0.030 June 2014 2014, 2015 1
Jordan, Taylor 1.047 June 2013 2014, 2015 1
Cole, AJ 0.047 Nov 2014 2015 2
Grace, Matt 0.074 Nov 2014 2015 2
Goodwin, Brian 0.000 Nov 2014 2015 2
Difo, Wilmer 0.051 Nov 2014 2015 2
de los Santos, Abel 0.006 July 2015 2015 2 Kind of a waste of an option year; 6 days service time in 2015
Martin, Rafael 0.048 Apr 2015 2015 2
Severino, Pedro 0.034 Sept 2015 3
Lee, Nicholas 0.000 Nov 2015 3
Kieboom, Spencer 0.000 Nov 2015 3
Bostick, Chris 0.000 Nov 2015 3

The Nats did themselves no favors by letting Davis hang on the active roster all year in 2014, accruing a full year of service time instead of burning an option.  Perhaps in the end it won’t matter; despite all the other RH relievers used last year, Davis never got called up and seems closer to an outright than worrying about where to rent in DC for the summer.  Speaking of RH relievers, the team called up Abel de los Santos in July, let him play for exactly 6 days, then optioned him back.  Davis (if he’s still around) and the two 4-A starters Jordan and Hill probably each burn their final option in 2016 and then force the team’s hand next off-season.  But that’s what we’ll talk about in next year’s version of this post.

In the meantime, here’s the meat of this year’s post: The four players on the Nats 40-man roster who have no Options left and thus have to either be on next year’s 25-man roster or be subjected to waivers prior to the season starting.

Player Service Time post 2014 First Added to 40-man Option Years Used Options left?
Lobaton, Jose 4.138 Nov 2008 2010,2011, unk 3rd 0 no options per mlbtraderumors; can’t tell if optioned in 2009 or 2012.
Moore, Tyler 3.018 Nov 2011 2012,2013,2014 0 86 days on mlb roster in 2014; how does this add to 1.106?
Robinson, Clint 1.028 Nov 2010 2011,2012,2013 0
Rivero, Felipe 0.162 Nov 2012 2013,2014,2015 0 I’m pretty sure 2015 counted as an option year

Now, both Lobaton and Moore are returnees from last year’s version of this post.  Lobaton was always set to be Ramos’ backup and dutifully performed in that role, slashing just .199/.279/.294 in that role.  I’m not entirely sure that either of the catchers on the 40-man roster can supplant Lobaton as Ramos’ backup, but I’m also not entirely sure that Lobaton will even be here in 2016 thanks to his performance.  So his lack of options may not matter; if the team buys another catcher on the FA market or in trade, Lobaton is likely DFA’d soon thereafter.  Moore (as noted in prior posts) has a bigger issue this coming off-season; he’s Arbitration eligible in a season where he was lucky (thanks to a constant barrage of injured players) to have lasted the whole season on the roster.  As mentioned in the previous post; both of these guys are also serious non-tender candidates, which would close the book on them with this team regardless.

Lets talk about the more interesting cases.  Robinson, from what I can gather from his convoluted Cots contract history page, had three straight options burned after getting added in Nov 2010 by his original signing club Kansas City.  After two option years and a scant four PAs in 2012, he was DFA’d and acquired by Pittsburgh, who then DFA’d him themselves at the end of Spring Training 2013.  Toronto claimed him, optioned him, then DFA’d and outrighted him a couple months later without ever appearing for their big club.  He signed as a MLFA with Los Angeles in 2014, got called up, got 9 ABs and then was DFA’d again (because of course by this time he was out of options…).  He played out the string for the Dodgers’ AAA club and then signed with Washington as a MLFA again in 2015.  So, all of that leading to his nice 2015 season for us and for 2016 he’s either going to be with us or against us: no options means he either makes the team or possibly moves on.

The other guy of note is Rivero.  His first two option years are easy.  But his up/down in 2015 may or may not have counted as an optional assignment.  Here was his movement this past season:

  • 3/16/15: Optioned officially to AAA though the minor league season doesn’t start until 4/9/15.
  • 4/16/15.  So that’s roughly 10 days in the minors since the Nats season starts on 4/6/15.
  • Two days later he got sick and eventually went on the D/L (remember the story?  he was throwing up black blood thanks to taking too much Advil)
  • 5/21/15: reinstated from the D/L and optioned back to Syracuse
  • 6/1/15: recalled again; so he was in Syracuse a grand total of 10 additional days.

So, by my count that’s 20 days in the minors right on the nose.  But the rules say that if you spend at least 20 days in the minors, that you’ve burned an option for that year.  So this is pretty close; did Rivero use an option for 2015 or not?  I think he did.  Now, it may not really matter since he really showed some serious cheese for the Nats this year and seems like a lock to be in the 2016 pen, but from an organizational flexibility perspective its nice to have.

So there’s the Options analysis for the team (well, at least the state of the team and its 40-man roster just after the Rule-5 protection additions and prior to any wheeling-and-dealing this coming off-season).  No big decisions to be had, but some concern areas for this year and next.

Feel free to comment if you think i’ve gotten anything wrong in the analysis.


37 Responses to 'Nats 40-man Option status for 2016'

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  1. Thanks, Todd. Very useful post.

    The one surprise to me is Goodwin, didn’t think he would have 2 left. Maybe it just seems he’s been around a long time.
    He’s having a great season in the Venezuelan winter league.

    Mark L

    1 Dec 15 at 9:38 am

  2. Great stuff, Todd. You’re apparently still working on trying to get Rizzo to hire you! I claim no expertise in the arcane option rules so can’t help you on your questions. However, I do have some vague memory from the Robinson feel-good stories about making the team last year that he was bound for Syracuse if he didn’t. I was never under the impression that he would have had to have been released.

    Robinson seemed to solidify his hold on a bench job with his play last season, so I can’t see the option question becoming an issue for him in 2016 unless he has a T-Mo-like regression.

    Moore being out of options was mentioned in stories several times last season. Between his regression at the plate and immobility in the field, his Nat days are probably numbered, as discussed on the last post.

    If Rivero is indeed out of options, he seems the most problematic of the bunch. He’s talented but still not completely established as a major-leaguer. Perhaps the fact that the Nats haven’t moved quickly to re-sign Thornton signifies confidence in Rivero as a later-inning lefty.


    1 Dec 15 at 12:51 pm

  3. I have no idea what the Nats plan to do with Turner. Presumably, he will be playing regularly with the big club by June at the latest, at either SS or 2B. But at which position, and with whom? Do they keep Escobar and play him at 2B? At SS? (Nooo!) Trade Escobar and start Espinosa at 2B or SS? Sign Zobrist to primarily play 2B?

    None of those are bad options, except Escobar standing immobily at SS. As important as his bat was to the lineup last year, I’m inclined to be in the “sell high” camp on him, particularly with Turner on the near horizon. With Espinosa, were he to be a starter, I would much prefer that he be at SS, where his plus defense would do more to offset his inconsistent bat. There would also be less pressure on Turner to break in at 2B than at SS. If the Nats were to sign Zobrist, though, Turner would be at short, as he would be (we hope) if he were paired with Escobar.


    1 Dec 15 at 1:03 pm

  4. Thanks Todd – nice spade work on this! Much appreciated.

    To add to KW’s memory about Robinson, recall that Robinson was brought in on a minor league deal. Since it was a minor league deal, until he was added to the major league roster the team could have sent him to Syracuse without further process. Older players, particularly those with some major league experience, will often insist on an “opt out” date where the player then has the ability to become a free agent if not added to the roster by [x] date. I don’t know whether Robinson’s deal had that, because he played the whole year.

    John C.

    1 Dec 15 at 1:43 pm

  5. Lets just say I had some “downtime” while on travel for Thanksgiving and laid the groundwork for a ton of these posts that I generally do year after year. 🙂 I’ve got 3700 words on the MLB pitching staff coming up but I want to get some more on paper for AAA and other levels before heading down that road too much.

    Robinson: agree with JohnC; ML deal so no options issues until now. But I think he’s safely established his creds as a bench option for 2016.

    Rivero: i’m nto as worried about him; I liked what he brought this year.

    Todd Boss

    1 Dec 15 at 2:05 pm

  6. John – I think you’re right about Robinson. I had forgotten that he came in on a minor-league deal, as did a truckload of others last spring.

    Todd – We’ll look forward to all of the pending posts.

    Mark – Goodwin still has two options left because last season was his first year on the 40-man, a questionable addition to keep him out of eligibility for last year’s Rule 5 draft. I see per Byron Kerr that Goodwin is doing well in winter ball, for whatever that’s worth. Right now, I’d be seeing if that is helping generate any trade interest.


    1 Dec 15 at 3:21 pm

  7. KW — Goodwin is that rarest of Nats commodity, a left-handed hitter.
    I think his OPS is now .969 in the VWL.

    Mark L

    1 Dec 15 at 6:33 pm

  8. Yes, but Goodwin’s full-season OPS after demotion to AA this year was .631. He *really* struggled. I give him a lot of credit for going to Venezuela to do what he can do to try to get back on track, but I’m not holding my breath. He just turned 25, and he’s still got the “tools” to make it, but the odds are getting longer. If another team would still give “prospect” value for him, I’m sure the Nats would listen.


    1 Dec 15 at 6:53 pm

  9. So, would you trade Ross for Shelby Miller? It would be taking better present ability (or maybe higher reliability of it) that matches up with Harper and Rendon v. longer control. Not sure where I come out on it, although i think I lean yes.

    Hard to know what the crazy Braves are doing, but I think it is to lengthen control of players and push out their window (except for, you know, Markakis and Olivera). So this probably something they’d be interested in.


    1 Dec 15 at 9:32 pm

  10. I think the Nats would bet that Ross’s upside is at least as good as Miller’s, if not better. Nearly everyone I’ve seen mention Miller this winter isn’t particularly high on him. However, with the pitching market suddenly contracting, some team is probably going to make a stupid overpay for him.

    If you’re going to make a stupid overpay, make it for Gray or Sale. Those are the markets I wish the Nats could get into but probably can’t. I’ll bet Gray goes somewhere, though; as for Sale, the Chisox are still trying to figure out if they’re buyers or sellers.

    If the Dodgers lose out on Greinke, I’ll bet they at least inquire about Stras. They would have to do something, as their rotation beyond the Big Two already isn’t much. But the Nats can’t think about trading Stras without bringing in someone at least the caliber of Miller or Tyson Ross.


    2 Dec 15 at 5:27 am

  11. I would not trade Ross for Shelby Miller straight up; I think Ross can be what Miller is and he’d give more years of control. Agree with KW here. Not to mention that Ross is only owed MLB min for the next three years while Miller faces millions of raises in arbitration.

    If the Dodgers come calling for Strasburg and offer up one of their big prospect names (Urias, Seager or Pederson) you’d have to think about it.

    Todd Boss

    2 Dec 15 at 10:12 am

  12. I don’t think the Dodgers would give up one of their top prospects for Stras straight up; it would have to be something like Stras, Storen, and Fedde. Considering the Nats’ lack of position prospects, though, they’d have to think about it. Now, they might offer Puig straight up for Stras if they really want to get rid of him, but that’s a whole other can of worms.

    I’m uncomfortable trading Stras without another proven starter in the arsenal, but I’m also uncomfortable keeping him and just ending up with a compensation draft pick. I also agree with what Wally has mentioned several times this offseason: that Stras is a candidate to be even more stressed by his contract year than Desi and JZim were. If he is traded, I’d prefer that it be to the AL or to an NL team unlikely to contend, like his hometown Padres.


    2 Dec 15 at 10:52 am

  13. On the non-tender front, Heyman is reporting that the Nats have agreed to terms with T-Mo for $900K. (I almost wrote $900M – now THAT would be news!) Kerr has an interview with Stammen in which he says that he thinks he’ll be full speed by spring training.


    2 Dec 15 at 2:15 pm

  14. 900k for Moore is fair; that’s less than both my and mlbtraderumors estimate.

    Todd Boss

    2 Dec 15 at 3:09 pm

  15. The Nats non-tendered Stammen. I guess they don’t want to pay the projected price to a guy who just missed the whole season. Presumably, they would still like to re-sign him.

    A fair number of bullpen arms are now on the market thanks to non-tenders, including our old tormentor Petit from SF. The most surprising non-tender seems to be Henderson Alvarez of the Marlins. He might be tempting to the arm rehab specialists at Nats Park.


    3 Dec 15 at 5:22 am

  16. Are you guys confident that Ross will continue to be as good as he looked in his brief call up? Seemed like he was pitching above his minor league stats, at least early on. Especially getting more Ks than he was expected to. Was he really any different than Cole during his minor league career?

    I think that there has to be at least moderate worry that he is more like a 4/5 type and will start to show that regression once the league sees him more often. Miller has more of a track record of recent, higher level performance, and even a higher prospect pedigree. Plus, shouldn’t there be some thought of maximizing the next three years of Harper, pre-fade Max and Rendon?


    3 Dec 15 at 8:58 am

  17. Stammen non-tender: looking back at my own analysis I should have predicted this based on the fact that he’s recovering from injury. Dumb. However, I seem to think they’ve likely negotiated with him already on perhaps another 2-year deal cost-controlled with games pitched incentives so that the team is protected if he cannot come back. Only makes sense. Similar to what they apparently did with Purke last off-season.

    Ross confidence: I have confidence yes. He looked like a veteran out there at a very young age, something you cannot say about Cole. 4-pitch guy with sinking action on a 2-seamer he throws on average 93 but can hump up to 97. Sounds good to me. I think they really like him b/c of his control; i mention this in my upcoming post but he had 21 walks in 76 IP … but 9 of those walks came in his last two starts when it was clear he was gassed/at his Innings limit for the year. So he has MLB-quality control to go with power.

    Todd Boss

    3 Dec 15 at 10:36 am

  18. If Todd has an upcoming starter post, I’ll save many of my thoughts. In his limited MLB sample in ’15, though, Ross posted as good or better numbers than the fella the Tigers just gave $110M.

    For insurance policies, though, I would be interested in a true swing man like Petit (due $2.4M per MLBTR estimate) and/or taking a flier on Henderson Alavarez (due $4.0M). Alavarez has a lot more potential upside than so many of those second-tier FA starters out there who think their 4.50 ERAs should earn them $15M+ per year.

    Minor would cost more and may have a steeper recovery. Yet another reminder of how well the Braves’ “we know better” approach to young arms worked out for them.


    3 Dec 15 at 12:42 pm

  19. OK, help me out here. I’m trying to figure what draft pick the Nats will get for JZim. Detroit has the #9 pick, but it is protected since it is in the top 10. There are no comp picks, but LA gets #36 for not signing Funkhouser, so by my calculations, that will leave the Nats with the #40 pick for JZim. That’s disappointing, to say the least.

    Let’s hope a team outside the top 10 picks up Desmond.


    3 Dec 15 at 10:32 pm

  20. Nats get a sandwich pick for Zimmermann signing with Detroit. It’ll be some pick between the 1st and 2nd round. We don’t get Detroit’s 2nd round pick, that was in the old system.


    4 Dec 15 at 2:27 pm

  21. Here’s the draft order as it stood at the end of the season.

    Nats had their own #18 pick for finishing with the 18th worst record (or 13th best depending on whether you’re a glass is half full or empty guy). Then we were slated to get two compensation picks in the supp-1st. As of the moment, they are scheduled to be 37th and 38th.

    So Nats have 18,37,38. However, there’s going to be plenty of movement. Anyone who signs a QO-offered FA will give up a pick; their 1st available pick outside the top 10. Detroit indeed has a top10 protected pick and will thus give up their 2nd rounder. Boston signed Price but he had no QO. So so far, no upwards movement for the Nats picks. There will be though.

    Todd Boss

    4 Dec 15 at 3:43 pm

  22. Thanks for the clarifications. I wasn’t clear on how the comp picks were assigned. Theoretically, the Nats could move up 8-10 picks from 37 & 38, then, if teams outside the top 10 sign QO’d players who aren’t their own. So their comp picks should end up being around #30, perhaps even a little higher.

    Time to start on the 2016 draft previews! We need bats, bats, and more bats, although the odds seem high that at least one of the top three will be a wounded college arm.


    4 Dec 15 at 4:43 pm

  23. Greinke to AZ. Wow. The D-backs didn’t get Cueto so doubled down, almost literally in $$$. The price for Cueto just went up, and perhaps for Stras as well, particularly with Lackey also off the market. The Dodgers and Giants are going to be desperate.

    I’m still concerned about the thought of trading Stras without a front-line starter to replace him, though. It would really hurt the rotation.

    Elsewhere, the Nats got a loogy in Oliver Perez, presumably Thornton’s replacement. In bigger news, they are now said to be the front-runners for O’Day. If O’Day comes in, you would think that Storen will be heading out.


    4 Dec 15 at 10:20 pm

  24. D-backs signing Greinke helps the Nats. D-backs forfeited their #1 pick, #13 overall. Nats therefore move up from #18 to #17. Not bad; they nabbed Giolito at #16 IIRC.

    John C.

    4 Dec 15 at 11:42 pm

  25. AZ is starting to look strong. If they can trade for Miller without giving up Pollock, they could slide into the favorite role in the West (well, before seeing what LAD or SFG does in response).

    If the Nats get O’Day, why not keep Storen too? Other than a lot of cash in the bullpen (but with a lot dropping off at the end of the year), it should turn a weakness into a strength and let Rivero and Treinen pitch low leverage innings while they gain experience.


    5 Dec 15 at 9:01 am

  26. I would think that the non-tender of Cishek really undercut the potential market for Storen. Why would a team trade anything for Storen, who only has one year left, when Cishek is available in the same price range? We’ll see. In retrospect, it seems amazing that a year of Clippard brought such a quality return in Escobar.

    Yeah, I’m beginning to believe that the Nats may well end up rolling with Storen and Papelbon, but it sure would be nice to have O’Day as the bridge guy. That would give the Nats a very expensive ‘pen, though, with ~$30M committed to just three guys. They would still need a “long man,” unless they have Cole or Jordan in mind for that role.


    5 Dec 15 at 11:23 am

  27. I hope John C. is right and we get the 17th pick.
    I still say (and hope I’m wrong) that Scott Boras will tell the Lerners to sign one of his players for too much and then we’ll lose it.

    Mark L

    5 Dec 15 at 12:40 pm

  28. I’ve built an evolving draft order XLS to help track. So far, Nats have moved up their potential picks from 18 to 17, from 37 to 34 and from 38-35 thanks to teams giving up picks ahead of them. Good good. More to come presumably.

    Todd Boss

    5 Dec 15 at 6:15 pm

  29. Whelp, not such a good start to the winter meetings. O’Day to BAL, and Madson signs a rich 3 yr deal. Riz is getting boxed in on the reliever market, and feels like a big overpay for Chapman is coming. I hope not though.

    Also, > 50% Pap and probably Storen stay. I can’t blame him. I’d rather fix the personality issues than pay these reliever prices.


    6 Dec 15 at 12:10 pm

  30. Yeah, I saw that it looks like O’Day is ready to re-up with the O’s (no doubt paid with OUR TV money!). Looks like they’re going to give him four years, which Rizzo didn’t want to do, and I don’t really blame him.

    Soria is still out there, as is Cishek. Soria had a couple of years with Maddux in Texas. I’ve hardly seen him mentioned. And of course there’s always that Clippard fella, even if he does seem to be starting his decline.

    Can Dusty bring enough love and head knocking to get our head cases on the same page? As much as we had all hoped that we could turn that page, I’m with Wally in not wanting to mortgage the farm with a major overpay to do it. Major prospects aren’t worth it for one year of Chapman.

    There’s still a lot of “stuff” in the Nat’s pen, with Pap, Storen, Rivero, and Treinen in particular. When they’re right, they’re all nasty. Maddux will bring fresh eyes and tweaks. Would that be enough? Is it worth betting the season that it will be?


    6 Dec 15 at 3:03 pm

  31. The reports of O’Day’s signing seem to have been premature. Surprise, surprise!

    I still think he ends up in Baltimore, though. If it was any other team, I think Angelos let’s O’Day go. But the Nationals? He’s going to move Heaven and Earth to avoid losing to his MASN “partners.”

    John C.

    6 Dec 15 at 7:41 pm

  32. Dodgers now trying to get Chapman. That’s a head-scratcher, considering that they’ve already got Jensen and how thin they are with starters.


    6 Dec 15 at 8:45 pm

  33. Wow, the bullpen market went nuts in one afternoon/evening. Soria, Lowe, Madson, and (presumably) O’Day are all off the market. The Dodgers are making a strong push for Chapman, although Ladsen has indicated that the Nats may still be in that hunt. (There’s no way they could match the Dodgers in the quality of prospects they could trade.) And our favorite closer has filed a grievance to defend his right to choke people and still get paid.

    So where does all of this leave us? I have no idea. Probably in the Cishek/Clippard market. I will say that the holdup on the O’Day announcement is curious, leading to the possibility of a last-minute upping of the ante.

    Speaking of guys who want that fourth year, MLBTR is also saying that the Mets may get Zobrist with a fourth-year offer. Uh. Not a good start to the winter meetings for the Nats!


    7 Dec 15 at 5:17 am

  34. You know, I am ok with the Nats sitting out these moves. Maybe my brain just needs to readjust to the new market normal, but I can’t say that there has been a deal announced or rumored that I immediately wished we did.

    In their own way, these reliever contracts seem as crazy as the Price andGreinke deals. 3/$21m for Madson? All those prospects for Kimbrel? I still worry that Rizzo feels pressure and pays up for Chapman. I really don’t want to see any deal involving Giolito, Turner or Robles unless it’s as a package for a present star under multiple years of control. I’d be ok with the next tier of guys.


    7 Dec 15 at 6:22 am

  35. Wally, I agree with you that nearly everything that’s happening strikes me both overpaying and giving contracts that are too long. Whether there’s a market correction, or if this is actually the new reality, will remain to be seen. Like you, I don’t fault Rizzo for not overpaying for the guys now off the board.


    7 Dec 15 at 7:36 am

  36. I think its just the new normal. 5th starters are $10-$12m a year. Relievers are nearly that. John Lackey got $16M a year at age 38 AND the Cubs gave up a 1st round pick to get him. that’s amazing.

    It should tell you just how much cash is in this game right now.

    Todd Boss

    7 Dec 15 at 8:28 am

  37. New posted btw on the winter meeting bonanza starting up today.

    Todd Boss

    7 Dec 15 at 11:25 am

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